Sea trials in the UK successfully demonstrated autonomous navigation of unmanned surface vessels using tpgroup’s Northstar software
This advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning software was used on different vessels and within a range of environments that included congested waterways and in open water.
During four weeks of sea trials in 2020, vessels were autonomously navigated without collision or human intervention in marine environments as part of Phase 3 of a two-year UK Ministry of Defence programme for providing autonomy in an operational environment. These trials were conducted at Thales’ Maritime Autonomy Centre at Mount Batten in Plymouth, England.
Northstar demonstrated it delivers real-time optimum route management and collision avoidance in any environment, including where global positioning signals are not available, without human control.
This level of technological maturity (technical readiness level 7) means it can be developed for unmanned missions within the maritime sector.
Tpgroup consulting and services director Luke Tucker said the organisation was proud of its achievement in advancing autonomous navigation for unmanned vessels within the maritime sector.
“This is a significant milestone in our ambitious autonomy programme to develop a system of systems, enabling the co-ordination and synchronisation of multiple platforms,” said Mr Tucker, “and establishing tpgroup as the UK’s primary provider of autonomous navigation software for complex environments.”
Northstar achieves autonomous navigation and collision avoidance through fusing real-time and reference data, including electronic navigational charts, to create a layered 3D synthetic environment.
It then optimises routes within this digital environment while considering vessel dynamics against user-defined measures of performance, such as time, cost and risk.
Northstar continuously re-plans to reflect changing circumstances – allowing for additional factors influencing the route to be introduced at any time.
View a summary of these sea trials
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